Reviews of The Art of Memory


One of the greatest challenges when writing a book is to present the science in useful and practical terms while making it easy to understand by practitioners and the public alike. Dr. Beckwith does a masterful job of achieving that goal. He has decades of experience as a well-published scholar of memory. He combines that academic talent with extensive work as a neuropsychologist, performing memory assessments and making practical recommendations to his patients to help improve their functioning. I highly recommend The Art of Memory: Remembering What Not to Forget for all who work with older patients and for all who want to know more about memory in their own lives. 

– Thomas V. Petros, Professor of Psychology, University of North Dakota


I am excited by the simplified and straightforward organizational plan you settled on to best convey your points in The Art of Memory. Your gentle, helpful voice is as much a part of making your writing valuable to readers as the extensive knowledge and experience you’re able to share. Congratulations on this well-organized and beautifully written book that will be of help to so many readers.

– Mary Anne Maier, Book Editor


The Art of Memory is a must-read for every boomer and Generation X-er as we age. Bill Beckwith, PhD, has over 40 years of clinical and academic experience focused on memory. He has 85 publications and is 78 years old with Parkinson’s disease. His clinical experience with clients and families, academic experience, and now his own personal experience with the challenges of aging give him insights few people have into the inevitable decrease in memory efficiency that comes with aging. Bill writes for all of us, as if he were talking to us at our kitchen table. He describes what memory is in laymen’s terms and explains the spectrum of decreasing memory efficiency from normal to accelerated.  Most importantly, he addresses the fears we have about losing our memory and offers practical ways to slow down this loss and learn to live with it. In this book, Bill offers steps to take today that will help us preserve memory efficiency for many years to come. I hope you enjoy this masterpiece as much as I did. 

– Joseph Miller, MD, Medical Director, Hillcrest Hospice, Omaha, Nebraska


This is a must-read! As I read the introduction, I already felt immersed in ­Dr. Beckwith’s journey. What I truly appreciate is his language — he paints such a visual that one can “see” the story. Conversational indeed, Beckwith discusses his personal and professional journey with such courage, joy, and tremendous strength. Our hospice nursing, administrative, and memory care team members would all benefit from the practical information this book has to offer, as would family members of our patients.

– Dr. Anna Fisher, Director of Education and Quality, Hillcrest Health Services, Omaha, Nebraska


Bill’s books have brought attention to memory loss and diseases that affect families with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Lewy Body Dementia.  My mother and aunt both had Alzheimer’s and my older sister passed away with Lewy Body Dementia.  His explanations of memory loss and other symptoms are easily understood in layman’s terms.  His insight through personal experience and teachings helped bring an understanding of what is involved with these diseases.

I have shared his book with friends who have family issues with their parents, and they were so thankful with the information provided.

I have known Bill since grade school and always appreciated his tenacity to learn and share with the knowledge with others.  He helped me with my family and friends with his books giving me insight I never would have had.  Thank you, Bill!

David George Turner, retired pharmacist


I have heard Dr. Beckwith lecture and am familiar with his neuropsychology background through that.  This is a very well thought out explanation of how our memory works and doesn’t work. Then, he uses real examples (HIPAA complaint) to illustrate ways that one’s particular strengths can be incorporated into strategies to make life more successful.  So, an example from his lecture is a woman with memory loss who liked to do laundry but would forget to remove it from the washer. Her caretaking husband wanted to afford her with as much independence as she could continue to manage, and they came up with a strategy of using the woman’s usual reliance on her calendar.  The solution that worked for them was to add wash to her weekly calendar each Saturday, and then add another entry to move the wash load to the dryer at a specific time about an hour later. Other people do well with lists, or post its, or can remember when given cues.

The other part of his book stresses how to work together early on when there is less memory loss, to get used to sharing finances and get used to taking turns driving, instead of only one person doing it.  This makes those transitions much less of a fight and the person with memory loss can become used to someone looking over their shoulder a bit to be a safety net.  The other advantage is that the family can learn what they need to know much earlier instead of trying dive in once someone’s memory is further gone.  This is but a small glimmer of the riches contained in this book.  I have passed my copy on already and have recommended it to many people.

Anonymous review on Amazon.


Will I lose my memory?  How will I manage my daily life when I get older?   Can we do anything to lessen anxiety for the patient and the caregivers?  Are there any techniques or strategies to help students with memory-related issues?  I picked up The Art of Memory by Bill E. Beckwith, hoping to find answers and many more questions.


Because of his brother’s drowning and the ensuing nightmares, the author became interested in memories and emotions.  Despite being dyslectic, he chose to major in psychology and pursue a doctorate.  He has compiled the essence of memory, supported by decades of case studies of people with fading memories for diverse reasons and his own experience. He emphasizes throughout the book that striving to recall doesn’t work; it requires us to have a strategy for remembering things and exercise control over how we age.  I’m glad I chose to read this book.


This book is effectively segregated into three parts.  The first section discusses memory and memory management.  It assists in separating the aspects of memory loss that are strictly normal from those that are not.  The author emphasizes developing memory management abilities before you need them.  He discusses techniques for enhancing long-term memory and controlling the rate of loss of short-term memory.  He cites eight types of memory and seven risk variables related to one’s health, way of life, and other external circumstances.  His offer of a life review – an autobiography or a collection of important events – was a pleasant surprise and a piece of wise advice.  The eighth chapter offers ten guidelines for memory enhancement, while the subsequent chapter offers roughly 28 memory boosting methods.  This section includes the PQRST method, which will aid students.


The second section focuses on different memory impairments.  Information on Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is covered in chapter 9, while chapter 10 covers Alzheimer’s and other dementias. He discusses the causes and diagnosis here.  He elaborates on the risks involved and the fact that dementia is incurable.


The third section makes it apparent that one’s lifestyle and taking drugs may be helpful.  It provides numerous FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drugs and supplements and information on their advantages and drawbacks.  He emphasizes the value of physical activity and goes into great detail about the findings of related studies.   He elaborates on how a novice can approach this gradually and stay consistent.  He emphasized the value of good dietary practices and recommended Mediterranean diets, which often contain a sizable amount of fruits and vegetables.  The impact of depression on memory finds a place in this part, followed by techniques to fight it.  He discusses the voluntary transfer of decision-making at different levels so that caregivers would not have to shoulder an additional load.  In addition to the 12 areas of care, he insists that living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders, if necessary, be made while the patient is in good health.  It is edifying to learn about the effects of retirement, hence the importance of engaging in activities that give you joy.


The book was incurably educational for me.  This book can aid caregivers and anyone who fears losing their memory. He covers the best strategy to address our concerns aging and related memory loss.  This book outlines tips to minimize distress before, during and after memory loss.


Because of the way the text is organized, certain paragraphs appear repetitive.  I also found a few errors, which did not interrupt the reader’s flow.  I would nonetheless suggest a re-edit.  I recommend this book to adults, as it discusses sexual behavior and associated issues.  The highest ratings would be to a book with no errors.  It merits a rating of 4.5 overall, but since there isn’t one, I’m. only able to give it a 4 out of 5 stars.


Reviewed by Karuna Sanghivi for